Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It's a GIRL!!!

Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow.  We have been eagerly awaiting the birth of our next grand baby.  Gabriel and his wife moved to the Plain Community only 4 months ago, already 5 months pregnant. They hired a mid-wife to deliver the baby in their cabin.

Apparently this baby had other plans.  This is baby number 4 for them.  Her first baby was born by emergency C section.  The other two were born in a hospital naturally.

Yesterday morning Bethany started labor and didn't wake up Gabriel for over an hour. When she did wake him up she asked him to go call the midwife.  There is one phone in the community and it sits in the middle of the property in a little room.  He went and called the midwife and on the way back he dropped by the closest neighbor and asked one of the ladies to come get the children so Bethany could labor in peace.

No sooner had he gotten back and the labor became intense.  The baby was not going to wait for anyone! Here SHE came. Gabriel and Bethany delivered their newest baby together, just the two of them.

What an experience.  I praise God that the baby is healthy and beautiful and Mama is doing great.  I will be leaving shortly to go and love on our grand babies.  Baby girl has no name as of yet but when I return I will post a picture and a name to go with this precious little one.

Till then....
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gratituesday Beautiful Flowers!

What a wonderful surprise I got on Saturday.  A man knocked on my door and handed me this gorgeous bouquet of flowers.  Beautiful pink and purple flowers with a note that said this,
"Thinking of You, 1 Peter 5:7 Give all your worries and your cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you."  Signed A. Sister"

A precious sister had been praying for me and sent me flowers.  Times like this reminds me that I have so many prayer warriors praying for me.  I am so blessed.  Whoever this sister is made my day and week!

What are you thankful for today? Why not share that blessing.

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Monday, August 20, 2012

Seasons Change

The evenings are getting cooler now as we approach the end of August.  As soon as I get up I go to the sliding glass door and fling it open to get some crisp cool air to breathe in.  The seasons are changing and I can feel it in the air.  I love the change of seasons.  Something new to look forward to. Remembering back when we lived in the Azores I came to really appreciate seasons because there is only one season on that itty bitty island.  Green can actually get boring! 

We as people have seasons in our lives. As a young mom  thinking if I could just sleep through the night again, life would be much easier. Then it was potty training and the list just goes on.  Like the weather changes I have tried to embrace each new season of my life with anticipation.  When Rich was in the military we  moved around, seeing new places, new congregations and new cultures, they were all welcomed.

When Rich went into full time ministry we loved serving God in that way. Truth is, the opportunities to serve as teacher, mentor and encourager were like a comfortable glove you can slide into.  There was much to embrace. That is until the day he got sick and we entered a season that was not welcome.

Three and half very long years.  Nothing has challenged our marriage as this illness has.  Our roles became reversed.  The season was not welcome in our lives and we, like many of you, have prayed for healing for a very long time.  The LORD has listened to our prayers today as he did over 1,000 days ago. He has had a plan all along.  We never saw what the plan was 3 ½ years ago and we still can’t see the plan.  What we do know is that God called us to be faithful no matter what.

This road has been so long and so difficult. I have cried out to God so many times when I could not understand what he was doing in our lives.  So many people across the nation and even a couple across the world have prayed for my husband to be healed.   One man in particular was prompted by God to pray over Rich. The message he got from the LORD was that God was not finished with Rich yet.  God was not finished yet.  Just rest on that thought for a moment. God was not finished yet!

Recently it has become apparent that God is indeed giving Rich some measure of healing.  He is not healed, but he is being given some measure of healing.  He can now walk with a cane.  He sat in that wheelchair day after day and now it sits in the hallway holding a blanket and not my husband.  Rich’s mind is now clear as a bell, his voice is back.  Our daughter told me the other day that his voice was the hardest thing to accept when he got so sick.  She marvels at his voice coming back, clear and strong.  Did I mention that he is walking and only using a cane?

 Will God continue to give Rich his health back so he could someday go back to work? That is the big question.  We have no clue what God is up to but we do praise God for the measure he has already given him.  This new season is an exciting one. We have no idea if this season is temporary or permanent.  What we do know is that God has called us to be faithful no matter what.

Are you facing the biggest challenge of your life right now? Are you tempted to give up?  Let our story be an encouragement to you to never give up. God has a plan even when we can’t see it.  The seasons will change and all God wants to know is will you embrace each season He has for YOU?

Till next time.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gratituesday August 14

This summer has not turned out at all like I thought. I knew I had two weddings to go to which would only take up two weekends.  Then DS called and asked me to come ASAP to help our very pregnant DIL adjust to no electricity, no cars and canning everything you eat.  I spent 15 wonderful days there. Still waiting on the birth of the baby.

Then after the second wedding we came home for a couple of days and Rich and I went down to Tennessee for 6 days.  We stayed with his folks and saw Granny who is 88. Rich got to walk into church on his own and be with one of the congregations that have been such prayer warriors for us. So many people who continue to lift Rich and his health up to the Father, faithfully.  When it was announced they all clapped.

  We also got the opportunity to spend the day with one of my very favorite families on the planet, the Borcks. I had written about them a couple of years ago.  Mama Borck has 15 children.  I just adore her and her family.  She is definitely a kindred spirit.  Her children are such a delight.  They all call us Aunt Jill and Uncle Rich. They are SO precious.  We even got to spend almost an hour by ourselves (well almost by ourselves) just sharing our hearts. 

It is the best medicine in the world to spend time with those we treasure.  It reminds me once again that Heaven will be a fabulous homecoming.  And for that sweet one, I am very grateful!

What are you thankful for today? I would love to hear.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Friday, August 10, 2012

What To Wear!

 I think I shared with you last time I went to the Plain Community for a visit that I got to participate in washing clothes.  It is in the top 3 jobs women in the community have to keep up on. Unlike most of us, they have very few clothes. It is part of the different mentality concerning  material goods.  Mom has to make every ones clothes so it is very time consuming. 

Most of the children school age have a dress or pants and shirt that are considered "good".  They wear the same outfit during the week because they take it off when they get home and hang it up. They then put on their work clothes.  When you have to sew every stitch your family wears and wash it by hand to boot, you tend not to have many clothes. Don't misunderstand, they have "enough" just not allot of extras. 

Sewing tends to happen right after canning season and before school starts. The mama sews as fast as she can.  There is also some sewing done  during the winter time.  The boys wear what is called broad falls with suspenders and button down shirts without the regular collars.  There are no zippers in the pants,just buttons on the side.  Every community decides on the colors they will wear.  In the community where son and family lives they have chosen dark blue or black broad falls with black suspenders.  Most wear either white, blue or grey button down shirts.  If you look at a mans dress shirt you will see and collar and below that is called the band.  In plain communities you will never see the collar part but the band is all they have on their necks. 

Have you ever wondered why they don't wear the collar?  For you history buffs it is because back in the 1800's men were developing syphilis and wanting to hide the fact. So they had shirts made with collars added to keep the sores from being seen. Interesting little known fact!  The Amish and Mennonite decided not to add the collar for obvious reasons.

The women in the community wear a very simple dress with an apron over it.  Allot of Amish groups will wear the cape dress (which is what I wear).  The cape dress is a simple dress, no collar but a second piece of cloth over the bodice.  It prevents anyone to see the shape of your bosom.  The women in the community always keep their aprons on. I can tell you from personal experience that the apron is quite handy to wipe your drenched brow, wipe off a canning jar, open the wood burning stove and last but certainly not least wipe away a tear from a grand baby.  The dress is long sleeved and the bodice is button down to the waist and either an elastic waist or band waist.  The skirt is pretty full and goes down to the ankles.  The women have a couple of dresses made from heavier cotton for winter and lighter weight cotton for the summer. The aprons wear out much faster than the dress so some women who have time make a couple of extra aprons to replace worn out ones. They wear mostly blue dresses.  The aprons will be made out of the same material as the dress. 

This group does not wear any printed materials.  They are simply plain. I have told a couple of the ladies that I am such a slob I would walk around with stained dresses all the time.  The prints in my dresses hide any spots I have. They just giggle at me.

During the summer most go barefooted. I even see a couple of families going barefooted for "meeting" the church service. When cold weather comes the women wear black shoes that are sturdy since they walk everywhere. The men wear work boots most of the time. 

No one wears jewelry in the community.  They believe wearing even a wedding ring is prideful so you will not see anyone with jewelry.  The men wear beards and the women cover their heads whenever they are out of bed. Although, on Saturdays the girls wash their hair and they run around most of the day with their beautiful long locks flowing in the breeze.   It is such a sight to see.  Each group decides on the covering.  Most Amish wear a kapp.  It is a starched covering that you will find on any Amish fiction book. Some Mennonite wear either black or white smaller kapps.  You can actually tell which region of the country a family lives in by the type of covering their women wear. In son's group the women wear a white polyester kerchief that covers the hair, the ears and the back of the neck.  

Our society loves clothes and shoes.  The Plain Community spends little time worrying about such things.  Clothes are considered utilitarian.  Next time I will talk about washing all those clothes.

Till next time, remember that God judges the inside of the heart, not outward beauty.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


What a wonderful weekend we had!  For the second time this summer my precious sister Wendy had a daughter get married.  Two in one summer is quite a feat for anyone.  Not my sister.  She is grace under fire. She embodies the calmest soul in any circumstances.  She and my brother in law raised three amazing young women.  The last got married this past Saturday night. 

All of the "Jost" kids were together once again.  This weekend was made even more special when three of us got together before the wedding and went down memory lane and visited our old stomping grounds.  Some memories were quite painful.  There were hugs and tears. There was also alot of laughing.  Seems my sweet little sister was taught somewhere along the line that laughter was good for you.  She told me that laughter exercises our livers and they need exercising every single day!  :) 

As I get older I realize that time is so precious.  I hope and pray the the LORD takes me before he takes any of my siblings.  I can't bear the thought of losing them.  We have been through so much together. We literally have walked out of the fire together.  I am so thankful God has blessed me with wonderful siblings.  They know my heart and I know theirs. Each one of them love the LORD with their whole hearts.  For that I am eternally grateful. 

What are you grateful for today? I would love to know.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Friday, August 3, 2012

Having ALL Things in Common

The Fellowship of the Believers
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Acts 2:42-47 (ESV)

This scripture came to my mind the first morning I was at the community. A young girl probably around 8 or 9 knocked on the door around 6am.  It was kind of a shock to be honest. I can't think of any girls knocking on my door that early!  In her hand was a gallon glass jug of ice cold milk.  She told me that her family wondered if we needed any milk? She told me to just pour out what I needed and she would be on her way to the next family. 

Three bushels of freshly picked corn had been dropped of a day or two before I arrived at the community. Seems one of the families wanted to share their bounty with our son and family.  The day after I arrived a woman with her children drove up in a wagon with multiple bushels of tomatoes.  We were also given green beans. 

Canning is a huge part of the work in the summer.  They grow almost everything that they eat so they can all the produce that isn't eating right from the garden. The second day I was there I canned 49 jars of corn. That was a very long day!  The ladies all have a "summer kitchen" on their porches.  It is usually a 3 burner propane driven cook top.  Most do all of their canning on the porch. They even take out their wood burning stoves from their kitchens in the summer and put them out on the porch too!

Several of the older young ladies came and helped a few times while I was there. They taught me a more efficient way to can tomatoes in such huge quantities. When canning tomatoes you have to take the skin off of each tomato and then core and chop each one.  I was dipping one tomato at a time in a saucepan. The next day one of the gals came over and I asked her to start on the tomatoes and she poured boiling water over the entire bucket and let sit for a few minutes and then started pealing. I thought, now why didn't I think of that! It probably has something to do with never canning 7 bushels of tomatoes at once!

Some of the brethren in the community raise pigs for meat.  Rarely does someone raise beef but a lot of them raise chickens and then cook the meat and can them.  I went and got about 30# of beef and 10# of sausage and canned those.  I had to look in a book since I had never canned meat in my life. When I was at the community last year I had eaten canned meat and I have to say it was just fine. The thought made me a little squeamish but it tasted just fine. When you don't have refrigeration you have to learn a whole new way of feeding your family.

I ended up canning dozens of jars of dried beans, carrots, hominy and tomato sauce along with chopped tomatoes. The root cellar looks pretty cool now. There is nothing to fear this winter.  All of this was possible because a group of Christians look out for each other.  Son and family were not in the community when they planted their gardens.  Several of the families were in the same situation.  Because of the sharing everyone will have enough food to get through the winter.

Now I call that, having all things in common.
Be a blessing to someone today.
In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".

Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Adventure to the Plain Community

 Hello dear friends.  I have missed being here.  I am finally back from my trip and wanted to spend a couple of days sharing my adventure.

What an adventure it was!  This was my first trip to the Plain Community where I had a family member actually living there.  Son and his very pregnant wife and children moved about 2 months ago to the community. Going from a totally electric driven house to one with zero electricity can be a challenge. Especially when you are in the middle of a very hot summer with no air conditioning!

When a new family moves into the community they are warmly welcomed.  Every other family takes turns to bring a meal to help with the transition.  If a new family moves in after the crops are put in the ground then they share in the bounty when harvesting starts.

It is this sense of real community that the Plain people crave and search for.  It has really made me think about the draw to such a place. The men call each other brother and they are not just empty words. Most of the men in the community see each other daily.  I am reminded of the scripture that says, "Iron sharpens iron".  That is what they do for each other.

Young ladies in the community are sent to other families in the community to help for a day to those young moms who need extra help. Especially during the canning season, which is what I jumped into as soon as arriving.  More on that next time.

This is so counter culture from how we do things in this country. We are taught to be independent of anyone. We not only don't know out neighbors anymore but we hardly know many in our own churches. We can do it ourselves, thank you very much!  That is why people can "go to church" each Sunday and feel so alone. This sense of belonging though is very strong inside of each one of us. This group is a perfect example of living in community with our brothers and sisters.

So I guess the question is, how can we feel like we are part of a community without moving to a Plain Community? Something to think on. Till next time.

In Christ Alone,

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the ground each morning Satan says, "Oh crud, she's up".